Putin blames Kiev for ‘crude, cynical provocations’ in Bucha
Russia’s President Vladimir Putin says Ukrainian authorities are behind “crude and cynical provocations” in the city of Bucha, which has made headlines following the emergence of images allegedly showing the bodies of dead civilians after the withdrawal of Russian troops.
According to reports, speaking to Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, Putin “gave (his) principled assessment of the Kiev regime's crude and cynical provocation in the city of Bucha,” the Kremlin said in a statement on Wednesday.
The Ukrainian government now accuses Russia of war crimes.
Russia’s Ministry of Defense has rejected responsibility, saying the bodies had been recently placed on the streets of Bucha after “all Russian units withdrew completely” from the city near the capital Kiev.
The West, which also accuses Moscow of war crimes in the city, has proposed a new array of sanctions against Russia.
Russia says its forces have not targeted civilians in Ukraine since the military operation began in the country on February 24.
Asked about civilians found dead in Bucha, the Hungarian PM called for “an independent, fair investigation.”
In separate remarks, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Maria Zakharova said the Western media carried the blame for what happened in Bucha.
“Yes, I accuse Western media, first and foremost the American outlets, of not only spreading fakes and misinformation but also of complicity in this punitive action to kill civilians in Bucha,” she told reporters.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov warned on Tuesday that the West was seeking to sabotage peace talks between Russia and Ukraine by fueling "hysteria." He also warned that the peace process could collapse if such attempts continued.